Watkins Gen 4 monitor speakers. How good are they?? Do you do what ithe ads claim?

Watkins Audio's Gen 4 has been recently upgraded.  Has anyone heard them and or own them  

If so, how would you rate them for overall sound quality, accuracy and bass response ??

Thank you,


I purchased a pair of the Watkins Gen 4’s on 10/10/19, and have been listening to them almost daily since.  They replaced the highly regarded Watkins WE-1’s I bought new back in 1983. While I have upgraded the analog front end and other components over the past 36 years, never considered, nor felt a need to upgrade my speakers. I periodically would check out systems in high-end shops, and left seeing no need in making a change.

I was intrigued by all the positive reviews and attention the Gen Fours were getting, so After listening to them and talking with Bill Watkins Jr., made the switch. I have been blown away by these “book shelves”. They are continuing to grow on me. Was worried about the low end, but the deep.bass is tighter and more accurate, the I suspected. No need to a sub in my system. The sound stage, imaging, depth, etc., is spot on. This is all true, but are claims speaker manufacturers and reviewers have used for years. My bottom line is the “goosebump” test and these exceeded my expectations.

Am I biased on Watkins? Yes! I worked for Bill Sr for a very short period of time in 1979 and saw how committed he was to accuracy in stereo sound reproduction. His son also has this commitment. They have been in business since 1954, the year I was born.

I have rambled on too long, sorry.

Excuse my sloppy post and meant to say “no need for a sub-woofer...”.

Thank you for the information and feedback of this product.


While the original post is right at a year old, I figured I’d through a couple pennies in...Full transparency: I’ve known the Bills (Bill Sr. & Jr.) since the early 1980s, owned (and wish I still had) a "four check-mark" pair of WE-1As (also known as Series II), had Bill Sr. help us with a crossover design for a "bookshelf" speaker / recording monitor from Audible Perfection (I was a principal at AP) that also used common drivers found in the WE-1s. Indeed, those speakers (The "RSW") would likely still provide ample competition to the Gen 4s, save for bass response... Using a 5" woofer, the RSWs were 3dB down at around 51Hz. I still have my (s/n 2 prototype) RSWs that Bill helped us with today, some 35ish years later. And they still sound amazing!
Lastly, I should say that I consider the Bills and Barry - who works at Watkins Stereo Center - ’friends’ albeit we don’t keep in touch very often anymore.
Disclaimer out of the way... Anytime I am anywhere near Kingsport, TN, I always make a point to stop in and visit and back when they were just out of working prototype stage and entering production setup, the Bills and Barry were eager to audition the Gen 4s for me. My last trips to Watkins Stereo Center were before the updates, as I’ve not been by there in a couple of years.

As for the original Gen 4s: I found them to sound great and very ’Watkins-esque,’ in that they are very musical. There was extended bass reproduction uncommon to such a small speaker. Imaging and soundstage are also very wide, accurate and transparent. Midrange and treble are sweet without sounding processed and very tonally accurate. Something I’ve always liked about Bill’s designs (and one of the reasons we got his help on the RSW crossover) is how dark/quiet the mid and trebs are when there’s no information present and yet how present without any exaggeration they are when a mid/treb signal is present. There was a bit of noticeable "honk" in the mid-bass between 175 and 275Hz, which could have been the room more than the speakers, as I always listened in the ’big room’. Bill Jr. said at the time that he felt it was the room.
Something folks should know about Bill (Sr.): The man knows his physics and is also a crossover wizard. He understands how to electronically adjust for time domain and frequency artifacts in multi-driver systems and strives for perfection at the level of the maddest scientists.
The updates made to the Gen 4s seems to be mostly around fit and finish. Better quality wood, higher-end connectors and wire, etc. They do also mention updated bracing inside the speaker box, so if that ’honk’ was speaker-borne, perhaps that’s been addressed? So, while I’ve not personally heard the "new" Gen 4s, it seems they’ll sound close to, if not the same as they did prior to the updates but now look and feel more in alignment with their price; especially now that they’re $2500 instead of $2K (direct pricing). The upgrades in connectors/wiring should also be good for a slight bump in sound quality to an ear that's in this price-range/market. What does all this mean? To me, it means the new Gen 4s, if anything, will sound even better than the already astounding sounding originals. Based on my personal listening sessions with the original Gen 4s, they rivaled speakers 2-3 times their price. So if the new updated version sounds even better, you’ll be getting even more for your money.

Watkins does offer a 30-day trial period and they are honorable people. Give them a shot if you’re in the market! If you don't like them; send them back. I’ve often thought about getting a pair several times since my last visits but I already have far more speakers than systems to drive them, and a pair from back in the day that sound very similar. Otherwise, I’d be speaking from more direct and frequent experience as I too would own them.